Chapter 13

The road to independence

Wales can only become independent if the people of Wales wish it. A majority of Welsh voters would have to support independence, in a referendum recognised both by the Welsh government, and the British government.

The first step is to elect a pro-independence Welsh Government. This could be made up of one majority party, or a coalition of parties that support independence. One of the main things that we need to do is try to persuade our political parties that this is an idea worth fighting for. At the moment, there is only one major political party that supports Welsh independence, but there’s no reason why this should be so. There are YesCymru supporters representing a wide range of political parties and there is scope for members to influence the policies of these parties.

Welsh independence is an opportunity to build a better, more efficient, more accountable modern democracy. This is a cause that politicians of every party should support. There’s every reason why members from many political parties should support independence. It’s about creating a democracy that works for the Welsh people, a new Wales that’s fit for the 21st Century: a cause that we should all be able to get behind.

Once the arguments are presented clearly and openly for debate, we can start to plan for independence.

The most obvious way to achieve independence would be via a referendum. However, Wales alone doesn’t have the power to call an independence referendum. Westminster would have to give its consent, and pass legislation to authorise a referendum. But if a majority of Welsh Assembly members passed a motion calling for a referendum, it would be very difficult for the British government to say no.

Talks between the Welsh and UK governments would lead to a referendum bill being introduced in Westminster. Details such as the wording of the question, how the campaign was to be run, and who could vote would be overseen by the Electoral Commission. The people of Wales would vote, deciding whether to remain part of the UK or not.

If there’s a vote in favour of independence in a referendum, then Wales wouldn’t become independent instantly. A constitutional convention would have to be arranged. The two governments would have to enter into negotiations. The Welsh government would need to decide what kind of relationship it would have with the rest of the UK, and also the rest of the world. All in all, it might take a few years before the process is completed. In 2013 the Scottish Government estimated that it would take some two years to complete the process of independence, and Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty allowed for two years for the UK to negotiate the terms of its exit from the EU.

When all of the discussions had been completed, Wales would need to hold elections. A new government would be elected, under the terms of the new constitution, and Wales would finally take its place among the other free nations of the world.

 

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